Hot List: Day 73 of the Legislature

by Published on
Texas State Capitol in Austin, Tex.
Patrick Michels

The Lead:

The Senate floor was all polite “thank-yous” and pats on the back yesterday, leading up to the vote on the Senate’s version of the budget, which the Lege is required to pass each session. That is, until Sen. Wendy Davis spoke her mind. Last session’s budget cuts deprived public education of $5.4 billion. This session’s budget puts back just $1.5 billion. Davis said that wasn’t enough. She offered an amendment that would force the state to spend more on schools and then promptly withdrew it, as the Observer‘s Liz Farmer reports. Davis’ withdrawal of her amendment protected Republicans and some Democrats from taking a tough vote on funding public schools. The budget passed 29-2.

And now it’s the House’s turn to pass its version of the budget.

Yesterday’s Headlines:

1. The Public Utility Commission Sunset bill—HB 1600—passed through the House, but not without some verbal brawling.

2. Rep. Drew Springer’s ban on plastic bag bans got a late-night airing.

3. The Texas Tribune reports that CPRIT—the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas that’s been put under a moratorium while it undergoes investigation of potential grant fraud—got permission from House Speaker Straus, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and Gov. Perry to move forward on grant negotiations that could bring more cancer researchers to Texas.

Line of the Day:

“We have a fiscal cliff here in Texas, it’s our highway funding.”—Sen. Tommy Williams during yesterday’s budget debate.

What We’re Watching Today:

1.The House Appropriations Committee will finalize the House’s budget version this morning.

2. More gun legislation is slated for the Homeland Security and Public Safety House Committee today. There’s more than a few interesting items on concealed handgun laws and background checks. And don’t forget about Dan Flynn’s HB 47 that would shorten the amount of training time it takes to obtain a concealed handgun license.

3. Dan Patrick’s bills on charter school expansion and gun classes for teachers are up for votes in the Senate Education Committee.